Moist and delicately spiced, these cupcakes can be mixed with a wooden spoon. Once they're baked, your kids can use frosting to turn them into a pumpkin feast.
Makes 12 cupcakes.
Heat the oven to 350º F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with bake cups. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set the mixture aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently stir the mixture until well combined. Explain to your child that she should stir only until she can no longer see any pockets or streaks of flour. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tins.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of one cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes sit in the tin for 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool thoroughly.
Meanwhile, make the Cream Cheese Frosting. In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat together the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice until smooth. Add about 12 drops of yellow food coloring and 4 drops of red food coloring and beat until the frosting turns orange.
For authentic-looking pumpkins, pipe on the frosting to resemble a pumpkin's ridges. Fill a sealable plastic bag with frosting, snip a small hole in the corner, and pipe curved lines over each cupcake. (An easier option is simply to frost each cupcake orange and draw ridges from top to bottom with a butter knife.) Use pretzel nuggets for the pumpkin stems and cut flattened green gumdrops into leaves.